Project NameVG Horse Club
|Project Name||VG Horse Club||Location||
Located outside Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine, on the banks of the river that the city takes its name from, VG Horse Club is a contemporary equestrian facility by architectural practice by Drozdov & Partners that stands out for its effortless sophistication. Embracing an austere, industrial architectural language, the Club is nevertheless a place of elegance and warmth thanks to the architects’ no-frills approach which marries a modern, minimalist aesthetic with vernacular references that reflect both the refined spectacle of dressage events and the hard work of horse training.
Set amid rolling hills and verdant meadows, the Club couldn’t be more ideally located. Informed by the site’s topography, all the main buildings are situated furthest from the river on an elevated plateau while the flood-prone, low-lying areas have been transformed into paddocks. At the heart of the complex, a large, shed-like steel structure houses an indoor riding hall, members’ area and the Club’s administrative offices, while the stables themselves are accommodated in the three abutting wings. Auxiliary buildings serve other training purposes while an outdoor riding arena, complete with spectator stands, can be used for national and international events.
Designed as a steel structure shed, the industrial sensibility of the main building is juxtaposed with the array of oak trunks cladding the all-glass front facade from top to bottom. Vertically aligned, the dense cluster of tree trunks is a bold architectural gesture that grounds the structure in its natural context as well as controls sunlight penetration and marks the building’s entrance. In the interior, the industrial aesthetic is tempered by the white-painted steel structure and the ubiquitous natural wood finishes. In the members’ lounge, timber floorboards, plush leather sofas and splashes of teal hues create a welcoming and relaxing space of subdued elegance that harmoniously complements the views of the indoor arena next door. Ample natural light, courtesy of extensive skylights and clerestory windows, enhance the sense of spaciousness and airiness throughout the building.
The contemporary sensibility of the facilities’ design also extends to its state-of-the-art services. The heated indoor arena is a paradigm of microclimate control, with everything from the soil moisture to the air humidity and temperature being closely monitored, while the advance audio system means that horses can be trained with the help of music. More equine perks can be found in the stables, where a specialized solarium compensates for the lack of sunlight in the winter with healthy doses of ultraviolet radiation for increased vitamin D production, as well as helps the horses’ muscles relax after daily workouts through the thermal properties of infrared radiation. Such pampering also extends to the Club’s human members who have at their disposal private rooms, complete with bathroom, shower and lockers, so they can unwind before and after training sessions. With a host of equestrian games and events taking place at the facility, such perks are definitely welcome as is the cool sophistication of its design.